YouTube's new video format allows for immersive videos, no headset required

While YouTube's investment in VR has been fun to watch, 360-degree videos aren't the perfect catch-all for every kind of content — especially considering a majority of VR watchers look at just the first 90 degrees anyway.

For this reason YouTube has announced VR180, a new format that combines the immersion of 360-degree footage with the practicality of "flat" video.

Essentially a 360-degree VR video cut in half, VR180 video shows a 180-degree view that can still be explored with headsets like Google Cardboard, Daydream View, and even PSVR.

However, unlike 360-degree video, VR180 content easily flattens to a 2D screen with minimal stretching or warping, making it appear like an everyday YouTube video — no head-tilting or swiping around the screen required.

(Image: © YouTube)

Half the degrees, half the hassle

The upside to this is not only does it make producing VR footage more efficient
 — you have half as much space being filmed at a given time — but it also allows content makers to create VR videos that work on regular screens without viewers manually needing to adjust their view to see everything.

YouTube is also working with hardware partners YI, Lenovo, and LG to produce cameras capable of shooting VR180 footage, and plans to offer select creators the chance to loan a VR180-enabled camera to try it out for themselves.

Curious how VR180 looks on your headset... or monitor? YouTube has put up a playlist of videos using the experimental format, including the one below featuring a 50-pound rubber band ball getting sawed in half. Ah, the future!